Email letters, January 30, 2014

Valley offers treasure trove of ways to make, hear music

“Music speaks what words cannot express.” We may not know who first said this, but we do know it is true. Making and listening to fine music transports our soul and clarifies our emotions.

The Grand Valley is exceptional in the opportunities it offers residents to both hear and make wonderful music. Our symphony concerts, the Rockestra concerts, the CMU “Music at Mesa” and “Guest Artist Series,” the “Live from the Met” simulcasts at the Regal Theater, the Western Slope concert series, the Mesa County Concert Association and the Classic ArtsShowcase channel (available from Dish network and C-band television) all provide wonderful opportunities to hear exceptional performances.

The High Desert Opera, Centennial Band, the Western Colorado Chorale, the Schumann Singers, the Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus, the Sweet Adelines Grand Mesa Chorus and the Messiah Choral Society provide not only opportunities to hear wonderful choral music but also to join in and make music.

Music has the capacity to elevate our lives and transport us to new uplifting experiences. I am writing this in the hope of stimulatin currently idle music makers to join in and make some music. If you are not a music maker, it is to encourage you to seek out and attend a local live music concert. The list above is a treasure hunt roadmap to explore the myriad of wonderful music opportunities here in our local area. Good luck and good listening.

Grand Junction

Police department truly does endeavor ‘to serve and protect’

The Grand Junction Police Department is sometimes “called on the carpet” for what it has or has not done. More often, its personnel are taken for granted as public servants with little additional thought given.

I had the opportunity for a “ride along” (from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.), and my eyes were opened to not only what our police “really” do, but to the genuine kindness and concern that define how they do their job. They see their role differently from what I imagined — prevention of crime/mishaps and providing citizens with security by being visible takes precedence over responding to an incident. They work very hard to make our community safer in ways far more subtle than responding to a 911 call. They demonstrate a clear focus on their role in our community.

Like many, I probably watch too many police programs. I saw for myself what it takes to make a traffic stop and not know what may be in store for an officer when approaching a driver’s window. These officers have spouses and children to whom they want to return at the end of each shift – read “gulp.”

Many thanks to Commander Matt Smith and Cpl. Clint Newton for making this citizen more appreciative of our police department’s strong commitment “To Serve and Protect.” With a respected chief and a state-of-the-art facility, we are very fortunate to have these men and women (and their civilian support) doing what they do each and every minute of each and every day. They deserve our respect, admiration, support and gratitude.

Grand Junction

Scant coverage of address by Obama was disappointing

I opened my Daily Sentinel Wednesday morning, expecting a fair compilation of much of the text of President Obama’s State of the Union speech. As the speech was more than an hour long and filled with some pretty quotable statements, I wanted to better digest some of what he said.

I was rather stunned to find that the Sentinel article had as much of an AP reporter’s opinion of Obama’s legislative action history/prognosis, and Republican contrariness, as that of the president’s text.

Where were the quotes about educational reforms, including massive student loan travails and public/private research collaborations? Where was the synopsis about many energy issues, including renewables and climate change? Where were the foreign trade and policy matters and the U.S. economic data? Where was the challenge to conservatives to offer an effective alternative to the Affordable Care Act? Where were statements regarding tax and specific wage reforms and savings programs?

I feel that the Sentinel has been doing a fairly respectable effort maintaining journalistic reporting standards in this era of opinion media. The Sentinel’s effort on the State of the Union address should be embarrassing.

Grand Junction

Gilpin County a good example of benefits of allowing casinos

I am responding to your statements Jan. 18 concerning the DeBeque Wildhorse gaming committee that is starting a process we hope will bring in money to improve not only the tax base in the area, but also surrounding areas and Mesa County. Thanks for mentioning us in the Sentinel. We are not an area that is well known, so any comments will help.

I moved to the De Beque area in 1994 from Gilpin County. I built three homes in that county, starting in 1970. Gilpin County lacked everything except an historical background. The economy was slow, and there were only a volunteer fire department with an old hearse used for an emergency vehicle, a small cabin for a library and one store/gas station. Our kids were transported over mountain roads to Boulder County for school.

After people voted to bring in casinos, Gilpin now has a state-of-the-art fire department with proper emergency vehicles, a great library, recreation facilities and beautiful schools.

The Jan. 18 editorial stated that “the Sentinel has long opposed efforts to expand casino gambling in Colorado,” partially due to gambling addiction issues. In that same edition was also an article about how the wine industry’s single “economic ripple” added about $16 million to Colorado’s economy in 2012. Doesn’t the production of alcohol in the form of wine enable alcoholism – also an addiction? Does the Sentinel also oppose the building of more wineries?

If the measure of gambling in De Beque is a success, it will benefit the town, surrounding towns, recreation areas and Mesa County in the same way gambling helped Gilpin County.

The questions concerning gambling, the wine/brewing industry and legalizing marijuana, causing some to spend money on things they cannot afford, are ongoing and will never be resolved. Can a person weigh the economic impact that will benefit most people and businesses on the Western Slope against the small percentage of folks who will be irresponsible?

De Beque

Country has too few ‘ants’ and too many ‘grasshoppers’

I am writing to reply to Harmon Lisnow’s recent letter. I understand there will always be individuals who believe corporations and the wealthy are inherently evil. It is concerning how the balance in this country has shifted and the prevailing attitude is one of taking much more from the “haves” to distribute to the “have-nots,” even though we have many examples of such systems not working.

Raised in a rural community in southern Utah, I was taught that hard work was rewarded with a more comfortable lifestyle. Some years we learned that if we didn’t work hard, we might not eat very much. That was a valuable lesson everyone should learn.

The parable of the ant and the grasshopper comes to mind. We are seeing way too many grasshoppers now. There will always be those who need help. Hopefully, that help is short-term and allows individuals to get back on their feet again. I fear, however, that is increasingly not the case.

Private corporations, small businesses and wealthy individuals have the resources to fuel our economy. They make up the engine that drives it. Taking parts off that engine one at a time and distributing them to groups and individuals that don’t know what to do with them benefits no one. Our current administration seems to believe in punishing the ants and rewarding the grasshoppers. Taking parts off the engine as it sputters and stalls will not fix the economy.

The beauty of our system is the ability of each individual to have access to economic mobility. If you don’t like your current situation, get training and education or use your ingenuity and hard work to move up where you want to be. Nothing’s stopping you.

If we continue to slide to where it’s no longer worthwhile to be an ant, we will have removed a seriously important element of the human spirit from our economy. Working hard and being rewarded for it is a blessing and good for the soul.


Grand Junction



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Thanks Dr. Wood.

The grasshopper and the ant is a favorite of mine taught to me by my parents who were from “The Greatest Generation”.

I’m not afraid to accept my failures as my fault which led to hard times for me in the past. I didn’t sit around “woe is me” and ask for handouts. I got back up and charged ahead to the best of my ability and now have a promising career once again.

Being willing to go to any length (legally and ethically of course) has paid off for me more than once. And yes, I have scrubbed toilets for minimum wage. My employers saw my work ethic and I was rewarded with raises and promotions most of the time.

My dad told me: “when the boss asks you to jump, you don’t ask why, you ask how high?”

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